Melanoma represents a small percentage of skin cancer cases, but it is responsible for the vast majority of deaths caused by the disease. It can spread quickly through the body, which is what makes is such a serious condition. However, when your dermatologist diagnoses melanoma in its early stages, it is easy to treat, so knowing how to recognize the signs could save your life. Here is what you need to know about the symptoms of melanoma and what treatment options are available.
The most common symptom of melanoma is a mole that has either just appeared or has changed in appearance. Dermatologists recommend that patients remember ABCDE when they are evaluating their moles:
- A means the asymmetrical shape and refers to moles do not have a uniform shame.
- B stands for border. Moles that are a sign of melanoma often have irregular borders.
- C means change or color. If an existing mole changes colors, or if the color is not uniform across the mole, then it could indicate cancer.
- D means diameter. Any mole larger than one-fourth of an inch could indicate melanoma.
- E stands for evolving. Moles that change shape, size, or color or that develop new characteristics, such as bleeding or itchiness, could be cancerous.
Sometimes, melanoma symptoms are hidden under nails, between the toes, on the scalp, in the genitals, and even in the eyes. The best way to detect these hidden melanomas is to see your dermatologist regularly for a skin check.
Melanoma Treatment Options
The treatment for melanoma depends on many factors, including the stage of the disease when it is diagnosed. In the early stages, your dermatologist may recommend that the entire melanoma be removed.
If the melanoma has spread to other parts of your body, there are other treatments that can help. These include surgery to remove your lymph nodes, chemotherapy, radiation, and biological therapy.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology provides skin cancer diagnosis and treatment in our office to help patients get the early diagnoses they need. To make an appointment with a dermatologist in Salt Lake City, please call 801-266-8841.